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Richson: Time to bike

BY BRIANNE RICHSON | MAY 02, 2013 5:00 AM

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Fortunately for Mother Earth, there seems to be a recent spike in sustainability efforts across the country, including everything from passing on a sleeve for your morning coffee to readily available bike-rental pilot programs in major cities such as Chicago and Manhattan, the latter set to open this month.

If these metropolises can make it work, then Iowa City definitely can.

Imagine taking a bike from a rack at whim when the Cambus you’re waiting for is inevitably late or even just never shows up. Imagine depositing that bike at the nearest return station to your dorm or off-campus apartment.

And, if you’re a person who has brought your own bike to campus for personal use, imagine not having to worry about a random person stealing your unlocked bike because they just couldn’t bear the idea of walking home.

Much to my disappointment, the University of Iowa is not one of nine Big Ten universities on the spring 2013 list of “Bicycle Friendly Universities” put out by the League of American Bicyclists.

With the culture of cycling and overall activity that pervades the state of Iowa, this is surprising. We can do better, UI, if not only to be competitive with our fellow conference universities.

The victorious HOUSE Party in the recent UI Student Government elections has a bike-rental idea in its platform. The program would provide students with a lock and 24-hour use of the bike. Of course, there would be a U-bill fine should a student fail to return the bicycle. Otherwise, it would be too easy to abuse this program.

Implementing this program would be a functional addition to the university’s sustainability efforts, as well as convenient for students. Although the initial pilot would have racks located just outside the IMU, with respect for and success of the program, there is no reason racks couldn’t be ultimately expanded to all over Iowa City.

With the nightmare that is parking in this town, a bike-share program is hard to argue against. The only thing we’d have to worry about is staying out of the way of late Cambuses.


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